Post #244: Shocking behavior

Posted on April 17, 2019

I just want people to see, with their own eyes, the shockingly rude harassment faced by citizens who speak out in public meetings in favor of MAC zoning.   See for yourself.  FOR SHAME, YOU POISONOUS ANTI-MAC RABBLE!  YOU DON’T DESERVE TO BE CITIZENS OF VIENNA.

OK, yes, that’s sarcasm. These meetings are about as exciting as watching bread rise. The meeting was packed with people who don’t want this building.  The clip above shows the two pro-MAC speakers, spliced together.   The citizens got up, spoke their piece, and sat down.  Just like everybody else who spoke. 

For what it’s worth, these two left in the middle of the meeting, as did many of the people who came to speak.  All in all, totally unremarkable.

What I’m saying here is that I hate social media.  And I don’t use it.  But as I understand it, at some website that deals with Vienna issues, there’s a current meme about hateful behavior by those who oppose MAC.  Including behavior at Town public meetings.  I hate social media for the laziness of the average participant.  I hate it for the fact that everybody feels entitled to a firmly held and strongly expressed opinion, but nobody feels the least obligation to do their homework.

The Town makes a video recording of these meetings (and audio recordings of “work sessions”).   If you want to see what these meetings are like, you don’t have to trust me.  You don’t have to take anybody’s word for it.  Use your own eyes.  Go look at the video.  Go to the Town of Vienna website and click the fifth link in the center list — the one with the word “video” in it.

You can find the video for the meeting shown above at this link.    (Does not play for me in any browser other than Chrome, but YMMV).  You can find the pro-MAC public statements at roughly 1 hour 25 minutes into the meeting.  (You may have to search around a bit — the Town does not necessarily start its recording the same time that I start mine.)

I’ve been attending more-or-less every Town meeting related to MAC for about the last 9 months or so.  In that time, I can recall three citizens speaking in favor of MAC.  One was a Maple Avenue property owner.  And two spoke out at the 3/27/2019 Planning Commission hearing regarding 380 Maple West (39 condos plus retail at Maple and Wade Hampton).  Those are the two above.

The well-attended meetings around the Town Council vote for 444 Maple West got raucous.  As I recall, the crowd laughed at the traffic expert who said 444 Maple West would not increase traffic.  I believe there was a spontaneous shout of “no” as the Mayor was allowing the developer to “run out the clock”, and asked if the developer should go on after what I recall as the first hour+ of droning presentation of the proposal.  People occasionally applauded.  And one citizen shouted “shame” amid the hubbub as the crowd was heading out the door.  But harassing fellow citizens?  Shouting people down?  Maybe I’m oblivious, but I never saw it.

Am I wrong?  Might be.  Might not be.   Memory is funny that way.  Which is why it’s great to have a timely video or audio recording of each meeting.  All you have to do is play the video and make your own judgment.  It ain’t rocket science.

And certainly, every meeting since has looked more-or-less like the one above.  Pretty much dry as dust.  Oh, wait, people spontaneously applauded for the final presenter at the meeting above — and got immediately gaveled down.

If you want to see what these meetings are really like, you don’t need to take anyone’s word for it.  Go look with your own eyes.  Do a little homework.  It’s good for the soul.